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Nonsuch Park, a walk with pictures.

Monday, July 01, 2013

It was a hot and sunny day on Sunday in London, and I thought it was time for a walk. I thought I would go for a stroll in a local park, which is a mile or so away.

Nonsuch Park is the remaining part of a deer hunting park surrounding Nonsuch Palace, which was built by the English monarch Henry XIII. The palace itself was demolished in the 17th century, it stood for barely 100 years, and a rather ugly manor house was built in its place, but the park is a little bit of Surrey countryside in the suburbs of London.

I started out to walk to the park fairly early to escape the heat of the day, and when I turned in at the gates it was peaceful, apart from a few early dog walkers, and I walked a little way along the tarred path towards the house. Although Iíve lived in this area all my life, itís only recently Iíve started exploring the park. My husband always walked us along the metalled path to the house, and back, and Iíd always assumed that that was the extent of the park. I was wrong, it seems HUGE.

I quickly left the path and struck off along a mown strip towards the trees. The whole park is a nature reserve, so paths are mown into the grass, and then it is left to grow naturally for the wildlife.

The trees are a mixture of scrub and mature trees, mostly broadleaf, but some well grown conifers.

I follow the path beside the trees, in the shade, and discover a lake I had never seen before. I was hoping to see dragonflies, but either it was still too early in the year, or there were none.

Around the corner, down on the bank, I saw an elderly couple with their bottoms in the air, dipping jam jars into the water, obviously hunting for water beasts. I didnít speak. Startling them at that point could have led them to a cold wet plunge!

Walking away from the lake, the path winds between high hedges, the plants taller than me! The air is heavy with the sickly sweet perfume of cow parsley, and buzzing with insects.

The bees love the cow parsley.

Coming through the trees, Iím suddenly in a car park! I realised that though Iíd been walking for half an hour, Iíd only covered a couple of hundred yards as the crow flies! The path from the car park is another metalled one, leading to the house, and busy now with dogs and their owners. I spotted a black retriever heading down a tiny path between the trees and the nettles, and I followed him and his owner, grateful that Iíd put my long trousers on, as I brushed through them. After a little while they have disappeared into the trees, and I break out into a meadow.

I walked along slowly, absorbing the scents and sounds of wild southern England. I could have been a hundred miles from civilisation, not ten miles from Heathrow! I couldnít identify the birds by their song, but I thought they were warblers, and in the distance I heard the laughing cry of a green woodpecker. The wildflowers grew high in the grass, and it smelt of hot moist hay.

This one is mallow, a common plant in the south, it even grows in my garden. People call it a weed, but I like it

also comfrey, a herb also known as bone-knit.

Through a stand of trees, and the meadow is ended. A broad path leads to my left, and opposite me is a brick wall.

The wall was built in the 19th century. It encloses some of the original Tudor bricks, and was turned into an arboretum, but itís totally overgrown now. I take the path to my left into thick woodland, the wide path quickly peters out into a goat track, but I walk on.

Itís dark and cool in amongst the trees, and I have absolutely no idea where I am. My karate training paid off as I tripped over a tree root, and did a hop, skip and a jump, instead of what I would normally have done, and fallen flat on my face! Then suddenly, through the trees, I can see the sunlight and I know where I am again, turning left I come to a wide path in between rows of copper beech, glorious in the sun.

The trees are not very old, and have been planted alternating with oaks.

I find myself a bench, and sit for a while just enjoying the day and looking out over the park.

A large grey poodle arrives beside me, and makes a great fuss of smelling my trousers, I probably smell enticingly of cat! His owner is very embarrassed as he has to physically haul the animal away, but it gave me a giggle!

The path is busy with dog walkers and small children on scooters. Parents are carrying picnics, and I saw a large lady with a rucksack almost as big as she was, leading the way and forging into the undergrowth like it was the Zambesi!

I checked my pedometer and found Iíd already walked 10,000 steps and covered four miles. I walked beside the path towards the back of the manor house. The back is more attractive than the front.

The path runs round the side of the house and up a hill. Iím on the way back now and I know this path, and so I walk a little faster. Itís only a few hundred yard from the house, but already Iíve left everyone behind. Itís midday now, and hot in the sun, and Iím glad to be walking in dappled shade.

Little Speckled Wood butterflies dance in the shafts of sunlight, but they are camera shy. Nearing the end of my walk now, my path runs parallel to the one I started on, and I decide to cut across the park so that I can leave through the gateway.

The park is full of people now, and there is a queue of cars waiting to get into the car park as I turn on to the main road and walk the last mile home.

I finished walking at 16,500 steps and covering 6.5 miles. I had an outstanding morning.


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
JENSHAINES 7/8/2013 10:09AM

    Hmmm... DID see this one. Where is the Austen reference, or was that another one?

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BEACHLVRMI 7/7/2013 11:55PM

    OH This was very cool. Thank you so much for sharing and posting pictures!!

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BELLSES 7/6/2013 10:01AM

    Sounds lovely! It is always so much fun to explore a new park, and this one sounds gigantic!

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OWL_20 7/6/2013 9:06AM

    What a lovely blog! And you really got a workout in, too. Great job on the exercise and thanks for posting the photos--I felt like I was with you on the walk ;-).

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MARIANNE9855 7/4/2013 5:26AM

    I was checking in with friends on sparkpeople and was so excited to see one of your walking blogs- they are the best! it's like reading a little travel column- thanks so much for sharing emoticon emoticon

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MARTHROID 7/3/2013 8:24PM

    I love when you do this. I feel like I've taken a nice trip to EnglandÖit's been too long since I've been. Thanks!

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    You are a true wonder, you are! thank you for sharing another fantastical journey.

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SUSANNAH31 7/3/2013 4:21PM

    Thanks for sharing your walk with us and including the photos.
What a great place for walking!

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DANAPRIME 7/2/2013 8:59PM

    Outstanding sums it up!!!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventure! Glad your karate is paying off.

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JENSHAINES 7/2/2013 8:04PM

    This was simply lovely, Evelyn. You made me hungry for a walk like that, myself. Also, for the wonderful walks in England!

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KENSHO 7/2/2013 6:43PM

    Amazing! Thank you for sharing this.

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SHELLYBABE2 7/2/2013 4:18PM

    I love sharing in your walks :-D


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IDICEM 7/2/2013 12:28PM

    What a lovely park! So glad you had the opportunity to enjoy yourself AND get in some good exercise. That's a great bonus. Hope your week continues on this high note.

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 7/2/2013 11:00AM

    What a lovely morning, outside enjoying nature so close to home. Love the pics! Thanks for sharing.

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KITTY_WHO 7/2/2013 8:40AM

    How lovely. Surrey is full of little secrets like this! I love exploring too.

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PATTYKLAVER 7/2/2013 6:53AM

    I love finding treasures amongst our surroundings. You stumbled on a very good one - it's beautiful! Glad you had a great walk.

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NUOVAELLE 7/2/2013 2:36AM

    What a great description of your walk! I felt I was there with you. The pictures, the smells, the feelings were all so beautifully shared!
Thank you for letting us joining you on your discovery of a beautiful park.

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PATRICIAAK 7/2/2013 1:08AM

    fabulous! felt as if I was right there with you!

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1BEACHWALKER 7/1/2013 11:55PM

    Isn't that something how you re-discovered a park you live so near too!! I love exploring too-seeking new adventures out there! That manor house looks like a mini it!! Looks like a very peaceful, pretty walk! And congrats on walking so far!!! Ever thought about doing video of one of your walks- I think it would be cool to see that!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 7/1/2013 9:21PM

  I love the pictures! I also love the name of the park...I wonder who came up with it. :-)

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DAWNSJOURNEY 7/1/2013 8:59PM

    VERY NICE !!

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REGILIEH 7/1/2013 8:43PM


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CHOCOHOLIC2276 7/1/2013 8:29PM

    emoticon for taking us on your walk:) I really enjoyed it!

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A_NEW_CHAPTER 7/1/2013 7:38PM

    What a delightful journey - thank you for taking us with you!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ALIHIKES 7/1/2013 6:39PM

    What fabulous photos! Thank you for sharing your walk. I was not familiar with the park or its history. And I really enjoyed your encounter with the poodle sniffing your trousers!


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FUNGIRL81005 7/1/2013 6:36PM

    How Beautiful!!! thank You so much for sharing!!!16,500 That is Amazing!!!! emoticon

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TXGRANDMA 7/1/2013 5:36PM

    emoticon for sharing your picturesque walk with us! Beautiful shots of the trees and the shade dappled ground. Very interesting, I have never been to England, but always wanted to visit! emoticon

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ISHIIGIRL 7/1/2013 5:26PM

    Wow, what a lovely walk! Thanks for taking us with you. 16,500 steps is a good day of walking. Good on you!

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TRUCKERSMRS 7/1/2013 3:11PM

    A lovely blog of your walk
We saw some dragonflies last week - some with vivid blue bodies and others that looked totally black, including their wings.

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JUNEAU2010 7/1/2013 2:52PM

    I felt as if I were right along side, though I certainly would have done the face plant! Thanks for sharing!

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    emoticon and Thank you once again for allowing us to enjoy your walk in the park. I so love your pictures and chat. It is almost as good as being there with you.

As to weeds, do you know the definition of a weed? It is any plant growing where you do not want it growing. I rather like that definition. I hope you do too.

Thank you again for sharing your walk. Hope your BLC22 is living up to your expectations. Be sure to get you points posted in your tracker.

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CATHEMARIE 7/1/2013 2:30PM

    Amazing! Lovely walk ~ great pictures and descriptions.

Truly like being in the country. A great way to exercise.


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61INCHGAL 7/1/2013 1:07PM

    What wonderful pictures.

I have very fond memories of living in Surrey in the summer of 1983. I was a young Uni exchange student with full rights to work and live where I wanted for up to 4 months.

I shared a flat and lived and worked in Leatherhead. It was lovely to go back in 2009 and retrace my steps, sadly it was so completely changed, the Post Office was not even where it was then and the whole High Street redone, but the place where I lived on Copperfield Ct remained unchanged.

Vickie emoticon

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MSPATOOTY 7/1/2013 10:51AM

    Thank you, Evelyn, for taking us all on your walk! What a beautiful spot!

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GOANNA2 7/1/2013 9:43AM

    Thank you for taking me along with you and for
sharing the beautiful photos. I had no idea that
such places existed near London. emoticon

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TRIING2GETFIT 7/1/2013 9:34AM

    I used to live right near this park ! Thanks for the reminders and the lovely photos !

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JAMIELOGICAL 7/1/2013 9:00AM

    Thank you for all of the lovely pics and the descriptions to go along with them.

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DR1939 7/1/2013 8:45AM

    Lovely day. I enjoyed the pictures. I've missed your walks lately. I hope you've been okay.

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BONOLICIOUS2 7/1/2013 8:43AM

    WOW! That is GORGEOUS! I had no idea such spaces existed in London - but it looks gorgeous and peaceful - I feel like I got a moment of peace from reading your blog and seeing your pictures! Thanks for sharing!

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COCK-ROBIN 7/1/2013 8:20AM

    Beautiful pics!

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DEBIGENE 7/1/2013 8:11AM

    Oh I so enjoyed this walk with you !! Thank you so much for taking me along.

Of course you earned the steps, LOL !!!!

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PARASELENIC 7/1/2013 7:46AM

    What a divine walk, thank you for allowing me to come with you!

I love how much you know about the local flora and fauna where you live-- when I was little, my mom used to make me comfrey tea with honey whenever I was sick. It was DELICIOUS, and it's been years since I've had it.... thanks for sharing this, and bringing back some of my own nostalgia through the beauty of England!

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MARUKI52 7/1/2013 7:41AM

    I've been there on about 3 occasions many years ago but have never traversed the whole of the park. Thank you for taking me on your walk with your pictures and description.

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FERRETLOVER1 7/1/2013 7:03AM

    Ahhhhh - lovely walk in the park - thank you for taking me along with you!

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DOVESEYES 7/1/2013 6:08AM


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NEW-CAZ 7/1/2013 6:08AM

    wonderful, thanks so much for sharing, loved the pics! emoticon emoticon

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    Pictures are lovely. You are fortunate to have such a good walking spot close by. Thanks for sharing.

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STFRENCH 7/1/2013 5:33AM

    Great pictures! Thanks for sharing them emoticon

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GHOSTFLAMES 7/1/2013 5:14AM

    VERY NICE THANKS FOR SHARING. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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